Advani closes in on grand double World Billiards titles

Yangon (Myanmar): Newly-crowned world billiards and snooker champion Pankaj Advani notched up superb wins over his English counterparts Mike Russell and David Causier to seal a berth in the finals of the IBSF World Billiards Championship here on Saturday.

It was a dominating performance by the Indian ace in the quarterfinal against Russell in what was supposed to be a tight contest. Advani consistently maintained the lead till the 200 mark in the first-to-1000 points match. From there, Russell failed to capitalise on openings and simultaneously Advani compiled big breaks to add to the Englishman’s misery.

A double hundred and another century put paid to Russell’s defence of last year’s long format title. The semifinal, however, was a much closer tie against Causier. Causier opened the proceedings with a 280 break putting Advani on the back foot.

However, his determination to cue for the twin titles saw him respond with a triple century followed by a double century, creating a large gap for his opponent to cover. But as the match progressed, both players dealt heavy blows to one another with back-to-back centuries.

In the end, Advani needed 250 points but missed on 183, giving Causier a chance to steal the game away. But he too broke down on 189, falling 66 points short of the magic 1250 number. Advani utilised his snooker skills and strong potting to finish the match with an unfinished 35 break. India is assured of a gold and silver as B Bhaskar and Sourav Kothari also reached the semifinals.